Friday, February 4, 2011

David vs. Goliath: My Battle with Babies R Us

Let's be honest... Babies R Us isn't worried about little old me not shopping there anymore. The $100 +/-  I spend there each month (or will no longer spend there each month) isn't making a big dent in their bottom line. I acknowledge that 100%. That's why it feels like my personal battle with Babies R Us is pretty much a lost cause... except for the fact that I know they've treated other customers just as poorly. I'm not calling for a full on boycott against Babies R Us or anything that extreme - I'm just asking them for a little respect... on behalf of ALL the mamas! Here's what happened most recently... I bet you can all relate.

Between Miss Paige's birthday and Christmas, she received a TON of presents - all of which were much appreciated! One outfit was a size too small... so I had to bring it back to Babies R Us. I didn't have the gift receipt, so I knew going in I wasn't going to get the full value for it. And even when they told me they could only give me $4.23 for the outfit (which I knew originally cost so much more), I didn't get upset. You win some, you lose some, right? Well - as I continued to shop around for some necessities - I decided to look on the clearance racks to see if I could find anything for next season. As I flipped though, I saw about 25 of the same outfits I just returned. No big deal. EXCEPT... they were being sold at the marked clearance price of $21.00!! Yes - that's right. The same outfit they said they would only give me $4.23 for was being sold for nearly 5 times that price - $21.00! At first I thought it was mismarked... but all 25 f these particular outfits were marked with a big pink sticker at $21.00.

So I took one and brought it up to the register to show that they shortchanged me about $15 on my return. And this is the response I got: "Sorry, but what the computer says is right. It  must have been on sale for $4.23 over the last 30 days. That is all that we can give you." I'm sure the look on my face said it all... ARE YOU FLIPPIN' KIDDING ME?! I didn't even say a word. I just looked at her like she was crazy because I was literally speechless. She turned around to another cashier and explained what had happened. The other cashier nodded her head and said, "Yup! Those are the rules!"

Now, for some I know $15 may not be a lot of money... but for a single-income family, $15 is Paige's milk for the week. And their reluctance to take my issue seriously and just blame the computer when common sense SHOULD have taken over got my blood boiling. And honestly, I was having one of "those days" and they were messing with the wrong mama. I'm not one to mince my words when provoked by sheer stupidity. Here is my response to the cashier, still pointing at the computer...

"Are you KIDDING ME? After thousands of dollars I have spent here over the last two years, you are going to lose my business over $15? I don't giving a flying fuzzball what the computer says - you know as well as I do that it is plain wrong to turn around and sell something for 5 times as much as you are willing to give me. And the fact that you are making money off this item TWICE is absolute thievery. Absolutely disgusting."

And the cashier - realizing at this point I wasn't messing around - said she would be back in a moment with the manager. While she was gone, the other cashier (the one who had chimed in earlier and witnessed the entire exchange), walked over and asked if she could ring up my other purchases. To which I said, "No. Unless this is made right, I'm walking out and leaving this full cart right here, and never coming back again."

When the manager finally appeared, I explained the situation again. I figured - He's got to see the stupidity behind what is going on, right?! WRONG! He pointed at the cash register/computer and said the same thing, "Sorry... but we go by what the computer says. There is nothing we can do for you unless you have a receipt." WRONG ANSWER, BUCCO! I gave him the same spiel. He went off somewhere, and a few moments later, the original cashier came back and said, "Alright. We'll give you the full refund." And that was that...

So in the end, they made it right. But - should a person have to raise their voice and fight over something that a two-year-old can see doesn't make sense? It's dishonest to make money off of something twice. It's bad business to treat your customers as if YOU (the store) are doing THEM (the customer) a favor by letting them shop in your store. It truly is disgraceful, in my opinion.

This experience, combined with a few others I've had or friends of mine have had (i.e. only allowing 3 returns in a certain time period, not honoring gift cards), has brought me to the conclusion that I will no longer be shopping at Babies R Us. Good riddance BRU!